Eight nationally significant disaster events since January 2022 have required a turbo charged response to processing government payments.
Services Australia has supported some 2.9 million people this year, paying more than $3 billion in Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments, and $192 million in Disaster Recovery Allowance.
The federal assistance comes on top of the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) which is currently activated in five states. DRFA provides a range of supports for individuals, primary producers, small businesses and non-profits, along with help for councils to clean up and repair roads and essential infrastructure.
Minister for Government Services the Hon Bill Shorten said Services Australia staff had acted quickly throughout each event to ensure people could access immediate relief.
“During the July floods, Services Australia finalised a record 160,000 claims in a single 24 hour period - that’s around triple the top daily level seen during the pandemic support peaks of 2020,” Minister Shorten said.
“The support isn’t just financial. Specialist staff including social workers, Indigenous and Multicultural Service Officers, and Farm Household Case Officers have continued to provide tailored assistance.
“It doesn’t compensate for everything they lost but it really helps in the short term.”
Minister for Emergency Management the Hon Murray Watt said the support was essential for those who had faced flooding this year.
“Since January, a number of major nationally-significant disasters have been declared across the country, impacting millions of people,” Minister Watt said.
“This federal support is designed to fund people’s immediate needs, like food and clothing, after the impact of a disaster, and I’m very thankful that Services Australia staff have been able to get that money hitting the ground quickly.”
Federal support through Services Australia is currently available to people in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, as regions continue to face severe flooding. Storm and flood impacted regions are also eligible for joint State-Commonwealth funding within 5 states.
People can check their eligibility for federal disaster support at the Services Australia website: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disasterevents
The quickest way to claim is online through myGov, and those who need additional assistance to claim can call 18022 66.